Coronavirus: US weekly jobless claims hit 6.6 million


The slues of Americans seeking unemployment benefits has surged for a third week as the productive toll tied to the coronavirus pandemic intensifies.

More than 6.6 million people rowed jobless claims in the week ending 4 April, the Department of Labor estimated.

To shore up the economy, the Federal Reserve said it would unleash an additional $2.3tn in imparting.

The deepening economic crisis comes as the number of virus cases in the US hangs to more than 430,000.

Over the last three weeks, more than 16 million child have made unemployment claims, as restrictions on activity to help control the virus force most businesses to close and put about 95% of Americans on some develop of lockdown.

“Today’s report continues to reflect the personal sacrifice being imagined by America’s workers and their families to slow the spread of the coronavirus,” Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia affirmed.

The surging joblessness is a stark reversal for the world’s biggest economy where the unemployment clip had been hovering around 3.5%. Economists now expect that rate has hit the double digits.

The critical time has prompted dramatic government relief efforts.

The central bank prospectuses on Thursday, which include loans to local governments, are the latest movements by the Fed, which has also slashed interest rates, eased banking regulations and confirmed other programmes aimed at supporting home loans, currency trade ins and small businesses.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the bank is manipulating its emergency powers to “unprecedented extent”.

“We will continue to use these powers forcefully, proactively and aggressively until we’re solidly on the way to revival,” he said.

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The US Congress has also passed a roughly $2tn rescue tabulation, which funds direct payment for households, assistance for businesses and expanded unemployment benefits. Lawmakers are now discussing further relief.

But the number of individual and firms seeking assistance has overwhelmed rescue efforts so far.

In New York, Lou Benavides, who travails in the music industry, has tried for weeks to register for jobless benefits, but cannot reach the Labor Jurisdiction to finish processing his claim.

“There was one day when I made like 300 ring ups,” he said. “I still have not spoken to a human being.”

‘Soften the shake up’

The shutdowns due to the coronavirus have now affected a majority of the roughly 21 million responsibilities US employers have added since recovery from the financial emergency started in 2010.

While the 6.6 million jobless claims filed in the US in the week to 4 April is in fact a slight dip from the 6.8 million registered the week before, economists advise that the elevated figures are likely to continue.

“The stimulus from the US domination and the Federal Reserve will soften the shock to some degree. But with role restrictions and closures still in place, the coming weeks will in all probability reveal more people facing income and job losses,” said Robard Williams, chief vice president at Moody’s Investors Service.

More than 80% of the wide-ranging workforce has been affected by full or partial business closure due to the pandemic, according to the Intercontinental Labour Organization, which is part of the United Nations.

“It’s frustrating, it’s unnerving,” said New Yorker Kayla Borges, who husband’s catering job was cut in recent weeks. He has been not able to reach officials to complete his unemployment claim. “With one pay cheque it’s mock-up. It’s definitely not something that we’ve planned for.”

But Mr Powell said the US economy set the current crisis on a strong footing, which should help rise, assuming the virus is contained and health authorities devise a careful back-to-work envisage.

“There is every reason to believe that the economic rebound when it prove to be c finish can be robust,” he said.

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